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Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 6 November-12 November 2002

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 6 November-12 November 2002
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2002. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 6 November-12 November 2002. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (6 November-12 November 2002)


Popocatepetl

Mexico

19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5393 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


A moderate eruption occurred at Popocatépetl on 6 November at 0735. According to aircraft reports, the eruption produced a small amount of ash that reached 4 km above the crater and drifted slightly to the N. An intense 3-minute-long phase was followed by high-frequency tremor. Minor ashfall occurred in towns including San Juan Tehuixtitlán, San Pedro Nexapa, Amecameca, Ecatzingo,Tepejomulco, Ozumba, and San Vicente Chimalhuacán. Four small eruptions also occurred during the day. The Alert Level remained at Yellow Phase II, with a restricted area of 12 km from the crater.

Geologic Background. Volcán Popocatépetl, whose name is the Aztec word for smoking mountain, rises 70 km SE of Mexico City to form North America's 2nd-highest volcano. The glacier-clad stratovolcano contains a steep-walled, 400 x 600 m wide crater. The generally symmetrical volcano is modified by the sharp-peaked Ventorrillo on the NW, a remnant of an earlier volcano. At least three previous major cones were destroyed by gravitational failure during the Pleistocene, producing massive debris-avalanche deposits covering broad areas to the south. The modern volcano was constructed south of the late-Pleistocene to Holocene El Fraile cone. Three major Plinian eruptions, the most recent of which took place about 800 CE, have occurred since the mid-Holocene, accompanied by pyroclastic flows and voluminous lahars that swept basins below the volcano. Frequent historical eruptions, first recorded in Aztec codices, have occurred since Pre-Columbian time.

Sources: Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED), Associated Press